This week, barbarians are at the gate -- and at your local comic shop

This week is all about the comeback, as we have several big returns making their way to your local comic shop this week. After a brief hiatus due to things like Captain America: Reborn, the regular Captain America monthly title is once again in shops -- with Steve, Bucky, 1950s Cap AND the new Nomad. DC, meanwhile, has the return of two titles we haven't seen in awhile, Starman and Phantom Stranger. And their Vertigo imprint sees the return of one of its favorite sons, Grant Morrison, who teams up with artist Sean Murphy to tell the tale of Joe the Barbarian.

In addition to Joe, there are several other first issues hitting this week, including another Supernatural miniseries from Wildstorm, Avengers vs. Agents of Atlas from Marvel, a new Solomon Kane mini from dark Horse and Merc from Zenescope. They're joined by the last issue of Dark Horse's Rapture miniseries, as well as new issues of RASL, Dark Avengers, Thunderbolts, Green Lantern Corps. and Incorruptible, among many others.

Trade waiters, meanwhile, can look for new collections of R.E.B.E.L.S., Justice League, Jack Staff and Captain America, just to name a few.

To see what Chris, Kevin and I are looking forward to, read on ...

Kevin Melrose's pick of the week: Captain America #602

Captain America returns! By which I mean, of course, the monthly series, which had been put on hold so Marvel could have a summer event in the form of Captain America: Reborn. (It was critical for the "death" of Steve Rogers to occur in the pages of Captain America, but not his return?) So, yeah, here we are, with issue 602, which kicks off the "Two Americas" story arc (by Ed Brubaker and Luke Ross), featuring the Captain America from the 1950s, Steve and Bucky. Plus, the Nomad back-up story, by Sean McKeever and David Baldeon, debuts! (Marvel)

Chris Mautner's pick of the week: The John Stanley Library Thirteen Going on Eighteen

One of my greater comics joys in recent years has been discovering the work John Stanley did apart from the Little Lulu series he's best known for. Drawn and Quarterly has done a splendid job reprinting this material so far with the Melvin Monster and Nancy volumes, but honestly the one I've been looking the most forward to is this one, Thirteen Going on Eighteen.

Based on the little I've read, Stanley's teen comedy series has a manic verve and energy that only matched in his best Lulu stories, and rarely if ever matched by any of his peers. He's quickly climbed to the top of my "favorite all-time cartoonists" list and I think if you check out this book you'll see why. (Drawn and Quarterly)

JK Parkin's pick of the week: Joe the Barbarian

I had a tough time deciding if this or Starman was going to be my pick of the week, but I think Tim's interview with artist Sean Murphy pushed me in the direction of this one. Writer Grant Morrison returns to Vertigo for an eight-issue miniseries about a boy with a big imagination who wages a war against the evil forces holding a fantasyland made up of his toys under siege. As much as Morrison is a big draw here, I'm also excited to see this world that Murphy has created.

Edit: Oh yeah, and it's only a buck! (DC/Vertigo)

The Phantom Stranger #42

Kevin: Of all of the DC Comics titles resurrected as one-shots for this Blackest Night gimmick -- Catwoman, Starman and The Power of Shazam! among them -- this is perhaps the ... strangest. I mean, the Phantom Stranger hasn't had a monthly series since 1976. But, hey, he's immortal. Plus, he has that groovy medallion. (DC Comics)

Starman #81

JK: Nine years after issue 80 sent Jack Knight off into the sunset (or to San Francisco, actually), Starman returns to stands with a new issue that ties into Blackest Night. James Robinson returns to Opal City to show us what's been going on since we were last there, as the Shade's date with Hope O'Dare is interrupted by the re-appearance of a dead Starman. (DC Comics)

Superboy: The Greatest Team-Ups Ever Told

Kevin: DC collects some classic, and not-so-classic, Superboy stories from the 1950s through the '80s, featuring work by the likes of Otto Binder, Curt Swan, Bill Finger, John Forte and Jerry Siegel. (DC Comics)

Jack Staff Vol. 2: Soldiers

Kevin: Image releases a new edition of this 2005 collection, which recounts Jack Staff's battle with the Hurricane in the early 1980s, and the reason why Paul Grist's superhero left the public spotlight. (Image Comics)

Avengers vs. Agents of Atlas #1

JK: Despite no longer having a regular ongoing, the Agents of Atlas are still in play with several miniseries, guest appearances and the like. Six of one, half a dozen of another ... as long as Jeff Parker is still telling these tales, I'm on board. (Marvel)

Captain America: Road to Reborn

Kevin: We get this trade paperback, collecting Captain America #49-50 and #600-601, the same week as Issue 601. Pretty good timing. Of course, we have to wait until next week to see the final issue of Reborn. (Marvel)

Thing: Project Pegasus Premiere Hardcover

Kevin: I'll admit that I haven't kept up to date on the adventures of Benjamin J. Grimm, so I may have missed a recent event that puts this in context. However, I can't help but think this 160-page hardcover collection of eight issues of Marvel Two-in-One from the late 1970s is really ... random.

JK: I don't think this is tied to anything going on in recent comics, Kevin, although I'd love to see Jonathan Hickman's take on Project: Pegasus. I do remember hunting these issues down in the back issue bins when I was on a Marvel Two-In-One kick back in the day, trying to find them all before I sat down to read any of them. It was a fun story arc in a title that typically told done-in-one stories vs. something longer. (Marvel)

Black Jack Vol. 9

Chris: How did I get so far behind in this series? Oh well, here's another collection of great two-fisted scalpel action from one of the masters. (Vertical)

Cartoon Introduction to Economics Vol 1: Microeconomics

Chris: Grady Klein steps away from his Lost Colony series for First Second to provide this "digestable" and, one hopes, informative and humorous look at the science of economics, along with the requisite expert, Yoram Bauman. Larry Gonick fans may want to check this one out. (Hill and Wang)

Glamourpuss #11

Chris: The Dave Sim fashion train keeps rollin' along with more on Stan Drake and a cover by Russ Heath. (Aardvark-Vanaheim)

King of RPGs

Chris: Manga expert and author Jason Thompson enters the fictional side of things with this story of a hyperactive role-playing fan who meets his match once he enters college. Victor Hao handles the art chores. The perfect comic for those who still have an original copy of the Monster Manual on their bookshelves. (Del Rey)

Incorruptible #2

JK: I get the sense from the first issue that this is going to be the flip side to Mark Waid's Irredeemable not only in terms of plot -- the villain turning good vs. the hero turning bad -- but also in terms of tone. It felt a little more relaxed and tongue in cheek than Irredeemable did. What's great is that despite the "shared world" nature of these two stories, they can both be so different and still work as well as they do. (BOOM!)


Chris: Irwin Hasen of Dondi fame tells a risque tale of a short bachelor who's got a thing for tall women. The odd, Updike-esque plot, plus the fact that it's by the guy who did freakin' Dondi makes this worth at least a flip through if nothing else. (Vanguard Productions)

All My Darling DaughtersNot SimpleOishinbo Vol. 7Pluto Vol. 7Real Vol 7Vagabond Vizbig Vol. 6

Chris: It's a big week for fans of Viz's signature imprint as they seem to have let loose the floodgates. First up is Fumi Yoshinaga's collection of short stories about a group of women friends. Then there's the debut volume of work by Natsume Ono, whose work Viz is serializing quite a bit of through their Ikki Web site. We've got the (sob) final volume in the Oishinbo food manga (hopefully that's a temporary thing), and the next to last volume in Naoki Urasawa's Tezuka revamp. Finally, for all you Takehiko Inoue fans out there, there's the seventh volume of his gritty basketball manga, and the latest phone book sized collection of his fictionalized look at the life of samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Man. That's a lotta manga. (Viz)

What are you getting this week? Check out Diamond's site for a list of everything hitting stores, and let us know in the comments section.

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